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U.S. Department of Transportation Launches Smart City Challenge to Create a City of the Future

Partnership with Vulcan Inc. to transform mobility in a forward-looking U.S. city committed to reimagining its transportation system; DOT seeking other interested parties

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a Smart City Challenge to create a fully integrated, first-of-its-kind city that uses data, technology and creativity to shape how people and goods move in the future.  The winning city will be awarded up to $40 million from the U.S. DOT (funding subject to future appropriations) to implement bold, data-driven ideas by making transportation safer, easier, and more reliable.  Additionally, Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc., has announced its intent to award up to $10 million to the U.S. DOT winner of the Smart City Challenge.  The winning city will need to work with Vulcan in order to secure this funding.

The Smart City Challenge builds on the U.S. DOT’s Beyond Traffic draft report issued in February of 2015.  Beyond Traffic reveals that our nation’s aging infrastructure is not equipped to deal with a dramatically growing population in new regions throughout the country and the need for increased mobility options in developing megaregions.  This public-private collaboration represents the U.S. DOT and Vulcan Inc.’s joint belief that creativity and innovation will be absolutely essential to meeting the significant transportation challenges of the future.  Lessons learned from this competition will be used in other cities to improve networks nationwide and demonstrate a practical path to replacing carbon-based fuel consumption.  U.S. DOT welcomes the participation of other entities who share the vision and goals in the Notice of Funding Opportunity found at www.transportation.gov/smartcity/nofo.

“This is an opportunity for the winning city to define what it means to be a ‘Smart City’ when it comes to transportation.  We encourage cities to develop their own unique vision, partnerships and blueprints to demonstrate to the world what a fully integrated, forward-looking transportation network looks like,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “America can remain the global leader in maintaining the safest, most efficient system in the world: I am looking for Mayors who share that belief to join us in pushing the boundaries of what is possible.”

USDOT is kicking off its Smart City Challenge today by inviting cities to submit a high-level description of their vision of a Smart City by February 4, 2016, consistent with the Notice of Funding Opportunity.  U.S. DOT will then announce five finalists in March 2016, who will then compete for up to $40 million to be awarded to one city in June 2016.  The Smart City Challenge will allow the selected city to demonstrate how advanced data, technologies, and applications can be used to reduce congestion, keep travelers safe, protect the environment, respond to climate change, and support economic vitality.

Listed below are the attributes of the ideal Smart City Challenge candidate:

  • Mid-sized city with a population between approximately 200,000 and 850,000 people within city limits as of the 2010 Census;
  • A population density typical of a mid-sized city using 2010 Census data;
  • Represents a significant portion (more than 15%) of the overall population of its urban area using 2010 Census data;
  • An established public transportation system;
  • An environment that is conducive to demonstrating proposed strategies; and
  • Leadership and capacity to carry out the demonstration throughout the period of performance.

“Transformative innovation takes ambitious support from both the government and the private sector.  That’s why we’re partnering with the DOT to inspire innovative, scalable, proof-of-concept solutions to address some of our planet’s most urgent challenges,” said Vulcan President and Chief Operating Officer Barbara Bennett.  “We hope that together we can spur change by demonstrating what is possible through replicable models.”

Applicants are invited to submit ideas – designed to address or enhance community needs – across a range of innovation and data-driven platforms.  Critical system improvements that increase safety, reduce carbon emissions, and enhance mobility are especially encouraged for review.  Specifically, these innovations will connect people, vehicles, public transportation, and infrastructure through ITS, sharing economy, and other technologies that improve the way Americans move, whether it be to drop off kids at school, pick up their groceries, get to work, and receive critical services.  

Secretary Foxx will host a national webcast on December 8 and a Smart City Forum will be web streamed on December 15 to discuss this funding opportunity, the application requirements, the award selection process, and answer relevant questions from interested parties.  Participation in the webinars is not mandatory in order to submit an application under this solicitation.

To view the December 8 webcast, visit www.transportation.gov/smartcity.  To register for the forum, visit www.transportation.gov/smartcity/smartcitiesforum.

The first round of applications is due February 4, 2016.  Cities interested in applying should visit this website to learn more.

To learn more about the Smart City Challenge or to explore joining as a partner organization, visit www.transportation.gov/smartcity.

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Monday, December 7, 2015
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